Pulitzer Prize Parody Nominations: A Sugar-Free Phenomenon, a Party for Q-Anon, and a Torched Tannenbaum

(AP Photo/Stack’s Bowers Galleries)

Our weekly recognition of less-than-meritorious excellence in journalism is worthy of Pulitzer consideration.

As an extension of the media-mocking venture at Townhall, Riffed From The Headlines, we once again recognize the exalted performances in our journalism industry and compile worthy submissions to the Pulitzer Prize board in numerous categories. To properly recognize the low watermark in the press, let us get right to the latest exemplars of journalistic mis-excellence.



Distinguished Public Service

  • Twitter

The departure of Jack Dorsey as the head of the social media platform meant the members of the incoming regime were going to assert themselves with a few new rules and standards. One of those would entail introducing restrictions that would punish users for spreading false information about COVID. Here is the challenge though, if you are going to police those about following the science — you need to be aware yourself of just what the science is on the subject.

Here is part of their new dictate on the virus:

“We may apply labels to tweets that contain, for example… false or misleading claims that people who have received the vaccine can spread or shed the virus (or symptoms, or immunity) to unvaccinated people.”

Well, this could become uncomfortable. After all, what will happen when the governmental authority on the pandemic is discovered to be in violation of rules laid out by a glorified internet chatroom?!


Distinguished Investigative Reporting

  • Jeremy Barr – Washington Post

When an arsonist burned down the decorative Christmas tree installed by Fox News in front of its headquarters in Manhattan, the network understandably took interest in the development.


Just how much interest did they take? Well, to answer your curiosity on the matter Jeremy Barr, media analyst at WaPo, decided to channel Brian Stelter and assiduously tabulated all of the mentions by that network of their torched Tannenbaum. Intrepid work, this.


Distinguished Feature Writing

  • Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – Financial Times

The focus on Q-anon in the press continues, despite the fact that no one of any repute in conservative circles believes any of these crackpot theories, let alone follows the Q movement with any seriousness. But the press loves to pretend that this is a bona fide movement that shapes the GOP, all done to shame and belittle conservatives.

There may be no better example than this piece from FT that celebrates…one year since Q stopped sending conspiracy theories. You have to admit that you have a problem when you are reduced to celebrating the anniversary of something no longer taking place.


Distinguished Sports Reporting

  • Ryan McGee – ESPN

The sports leader commemorates the historic hate crime that never happened. It is hard to come up with a more embarrassing display of journalism, but then as a sports outlet, you will not find much in the way of shame from this troupe. For reasons only they can explain – yet don’t – ESPN has a new documentary out about the infamous noose in the garage story surrounding POC driver Bubba Wallace

The FBI confirmed that the garage door pull had been found to be in place at that location the year before, and there was no connection whatsoever to Wallace. That report was turned in one and a half years ago. Yet here is ESPN, hyping the non-intolerance all over again. In one segment McGee mentions members of NASCAR who had remained silent at a time of the controversy, and Wallace defiantly says, “Oh, I still don’t forget. I don’t forget the ones who were silent.

So, he is still carrying a grudge over an incident that did not take place.


Distinguished Explanatory Reporting

  • Peter Wade – Rolling Stone

One of the most prolific writers at Rolling Stone in 2021 is not one of their reporters — it is the person charged with penning the corrections on their stories. Once again this year, the outlet had to alter one of its articles as the facts became clear. This time it was in regards to a claim about Donald Trump making a caustic comment about protestors.


Correction: Trump’s request that law enforcement “bust some heads” of Black Lives Matter protesters was made as they demonstrated during a June 22, 2020 protest in Lafayette Square. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Trump made the remarks on June 1, the day he walked across Lafayette Square to a nearby church after protesters there were cleared by law enforcement.

The difference in this instance is that this was not the result of errant journalism, fraudulent documents, or misquoting of a source; it was faulty reading comprehension. This report was about the recently released book by Mark Meadows, and the article was detailing the events written down in ink, on paper. The only thing funnier than their screwing up this basic research is the number of notable figures who reacted to this report, then had to retract.


Distinguished Local Reporting

  • The Editorial Board – South Florida Sun-Sentinel

In a Broward County election for a representative seat, the vote was remarkably close — the winner was decided by FIVE votes. But, there was an issue; it was later discovered that close to 300 ballots had not been counted, as they had not been delivered to the polling precinct by the legal date in order for them to be counted.


The local paper naturally looked over all of the facts and made a determination — Ron DeSantis needs to be scorched over this travesty. “Mostly all we hear on this subject from Tallahassee is silence. That’s because Republicans don’t really want every vote to count.”

These journalistic wizards made the determination to blame the GOP governor — despite the fact that this was a Democratic Party primary election in a deeply blue county, and the Supervisor of Elections there is also Democrat, dealing with a problem caused by the post office not delivering 280 ballots to the precinct. Blaming DeSantis is as desperate a deflection as we may find.

Distinguished National Reporting

  • Danielle Weiner-Bronner – CNN

A new report has some gripping grocery developments. As we perambulate the aisles, it may be discovered that there is a discernable dearth of diet drinks on the shelves. It turns out that this is not a result of the shipping crisis the country is still grappling with, nor the pandemic, nor any kind of chemical shortage brought about by inflation. No, it’s those damned millennials once again.

You will not be facing empty shelves, reports CNN; it is simply that the soda makers are steering away from the word ‘Diet’ on their labeling. The marketing wonks have determined that younger buyers are not so keen on the word. So the drink purveyors are opting to go with ‘Zero Sugar’ as their choice of transitioning.


Making these alternatives taste better is not such a concern, it appears.


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